Friday, September 22, 2017

From the UK, courtesy of YouTube user ‘A gap tooth grin’ comes this video which begins as a how-not-to example, but ends with two vital how-to tips.

I’m not sure where this undulating bit of British B-road is, but I’m quite sure ‘Gap’, as I’ll call him, is riding like a complete wanker for the first minute or so. I didn’t catch a speed limit sign, but his TomTom Bandit video system includes helpful speed data, showing that his Honda CBR600RR reached over 114 miles per hour on a road with a maximum 60 mph limit.

2 seconds in: The title ‘Near Miss’ is a bit of a spoiler, but the description ‘Lorry pulls out’ doesn’t come close to doing justice to the magnitude of the problem this douchebag’s about to face.

10 seconds in: In case you think there’s any chance Gap’s in control, note his speed as he approaches this intersection. Although he appears to have a reasonable line of sight to confirm no one’s approaching from the left, the paint on the right verge, and directional signage on the left verge indicate that there’s a blind entry in those trees on the right and…

11 seconds in: …sure enough there was a car about to enter the intersection. There are several more examples of this kind of ‘Russian roulette riding’ in the next 20 seconds of video.

25 seconds in: He has no idea what’s just around that hedge, but note the shadow under the rider’s right hand: His whole fist is firmly twisting the ‘Crash Switch™’ into maximum-crash position, and he’s not covering the front brake, which is the ‘Don’t-Crash Switch™’.

33 seconds in: Note Gap’s position in his lane; he’s at least four feet too far to the right in this situation. Considering that he can’t see what’s around the bend, he should be much further to the outside, he’d have a wider line and, more important in this setting, he’d have a much better perspective on the truck, which is just coming into view at the vanishing point.

Gap describes this video as: “Why you shouldn’t ride like a complete prick.” Another way to think about this is, if you’re going to ride like a complete prick, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. The right way would be to...
  • Be positioned on the outside of the bend for visibility, and not fully commit to the turn until you can see the exit 
  • Cover the front brake 
  • Have a laser-focus on that vanishing point, which is only about 2-3 seconds up the road.

This should be his “Oh fuck!” moment but instead, he actually accelerates for one more full second. 

Seriously, WTF was he thinking? The UK standard for road markings is for a 3 meter painted section with a 9 meter space. He’s 15 ‘dots’ or 180 meters from the intersection by that estimate. Based on speed and frame-rate data, I calculated a slightly shorter distance but it was still well over 300 feet. Although it would have been hard to bring the bike to a controlled stop, it was (barely) possible. This guy’s not exactly a demon on the brakes.

2.5 seconds after first seeing the truck: If Gap had seen the truck immediately and reacted in 1/10th of a second, he’d be going 20 miles per hour slower at this point, and the escape route opening to the right, behind the truck, would be viable.

Of course if he’d entered the bend at 10 mph over the limit instead of 25 over, this would be a doddle. He’d have ample time to slow to 30 mph, look under the truck to confirm the absence of oncoming traffic, pull to the right side of the right lane, and pass behind the truck.

3.0 seconds after seeing the truck: If he’d been riding at a fun-but-reasonable speed, paying attention, and had proper brake discipline, he’d make this much more underpants-friendly escape maneuver to the right at <30 mph.

But, since he’s going 70 that’s not an option. At this moment, you can finally hear the ABS working but he is still going way too fast.

Now, however, Gap flicks the ‘Don’t-Crash™ Switch’ by not fixating on the truck but by looking where he wants to go, at the tiny gap to the left of the truck.

There are any number of what-not-to-do lessons you can draw from this video but this is the first and most important to-do tip illustrated here: Look where you want to go!
At this point, he’s still slowing down, and he should be thanking Honda for that ABS system. He’s also illustrating the second thing he did right which was, Don't Give Up

As hairball as this maneuver is, taking to the narrow grass verge; threading between the guardrail and the truck at over 50; there’s one more hazard up ahead: soft mud, a deep rut in the verge, and the edge of that concrete curb on the bridge sidewalk. 

Impressively, ‘Gap’ manages to steer back onto the road and bring the bike to a controlled stop... 50 yards past the point where he should’ve stopped, but alive because saw that gap and went for it. Even crashing on the grassy verge would’ve been a better option than hitting the truck.


  • Riding too fast = Crash Switch™ in on position
  • Not paying attention to blind entryways = Crash Switch™ in on position
  • Not looking ahead in turn = Crash Switch™ in on position
  • Failure to react to truck in plain view = Crash Switch™ in on position
  • Looking where you want to go = flicking the Don’t-Crash Switch™ 
  • Fighting off the crash = holding down the Don’t-Crash Switch™

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